Monday, February 21, 2011

Watermelon Seeds

The sun beamed down on my pale, freckled skin. I was sitting atop a load of fresh hay as the sweet smell of the bales drifted my way. 

I was pouring with sweat in the humid heat, but beamed with pride. This was the very first load of hay I'd ever stacked all alone.

The wind blowing through my sweat drenched hair as we drove slowly to the barn as I sat proudly on the trailer. The smile on Poppa's face spoke millions to the pride for me that beamed from his soft, but wrinkled face. 

As we pulled into the barn loft, I jumped off the trailer, and sprinted to the fence to get a drink from the crisp, cool water faucet. 

We walked slowly to the back porch of the house, and sat down in lawn chairs. The metal of the metal and canvas chairs tinged my thin legs with the heat of the sun. The canvas was frayed and scratchy on my thighs as it dug into me. 

Granny flung the door open, and brought out a juicy, ice cold, red watermelon. 

Poppa and I dug into the watermelon. I watched him eat and spit the seeds into the yard. I was more timid. I would take big bites, and let the sweet juice dribble down my chin only after I had picked all the seeds out. 
The wind blew gently as we devoured the watermelon. His smile made my soul warm in a way that the long, infrequent dates with my Dad and his sporadic girlfriends never could. Days spent like this meant so much more than the afternoons spent at Mom's house listening to her and her husband yell for hours on end. 

Here I was safe. There was no yelling. No throwing picture frames or unnecessary rage-full beatings.

There was just love. The love of my grandpa taught me that there was a normal. That my typical days, however, were definitely not it.

I could've spent every day of every summer sitting with my butt glued to a dilapidated lawn chair listening to his deep voice sing. 

That voice taught me the value of hard work. He taught me the meaning of love. He taught me that I was good enough, no matter what anyone else said or did. He loved me.

Today, I would give anything to go back and sit under the shade tree, chomping down on  a watermelon, but the memories will have to do. For now.

This post is linked up with the Red Dress club's memoir writing prompt. 


18 comments:

transplantedx3 said...

I'm all sweaty and sticky now! Wonderful imagery. I can smell the hay. This is my first time stopping by, I look forward to reading more of your posts. Thanks for sharing such a sweet memory.

Erin said...

That just breaks my heart! But I love the memories of grandparents! Grandparents are for times with the realities of parents bring us down!

I ate so much watermelon with my grandpa when I was little I can't stand to eat it now!

Jennifer said...

I'm not even really sure how to comment. My heart aches for that little girl that didn't give love at home, but soars with the fact that she had someone to turn to. I can't even imagine how that man hurt to see a granddaughter he obviously loved so much hurt so bad.

Shell said...

At least you had a peaceful place somewhere. *hugs*

Jack said...

Grandparents are special people.

Mrsbear said...

It's wonderful that you had that safe haven to go to. That lovely memory of normal recalled so vividly.

Mandi said...

That was beautifully written with such great imagery. I had a similar relationship with my grandfather. It's nice to be able to have a save haven as a child, even when its not with your own parents.

Elena said...

I'm glad that your grandparents gave you happy memories! Great writing...very vivid & made me long for a summer day!

Cheryl said...

What a beautiful thing, to have the love of your grandfather among all the ugliness.

Also, now I want some watermelon!

Amanda aka Mommylebron said...

So sad but sweet. I know what it's like to need that safe harbor, there was obviously a great deal of love in that home.

kate hopper said...

Leah, such a lovely tribute to your grandparents. I'm so glad you had that safe haven--a place to go and learn you are good enough. I love that line!

~Kate

Nichole said...

Oh, Leah, this is just heartbreaking.
But, it is also hopeful.
Because your words here show that you understand how important it is to provide your little one with those very same things that your grandparents did.
I had amazing grandparents too. They were my safe harbor. I miss them so very much.
Lovely post.

Karen Peterson said...

I never could figure out how to spit out the watermelon seeds without spitting juice out everywhere.

I had a fairly tumultuous childhood too, so I could really relate to the stability grandparents can provide through something as simple as being there.

Sluiter Nation said...

So many posts of rough childhoods with a smiling grandparent. I am in love with that.

It just warmed my heart that you had grandparents that were your safety...your warmth in the cold.

nicely done!

Sluiter Nation said...

So many posts of rough childhoods with a smiling grandparent. I am in love with that.

It just warmed my heart that you had grandparents that were your safety...your warmth in the cold.

nicely done!

kate hopper said...

Leah, such a lovely tribute to your grandparents. I'm so glad you had that safe haven--a place to go and learn you are good enough. I love that line!

~Kate

Jennifer said...

I'm not even really sure how to comment. My heart aches for that little girl that didn't give love at home, but soars with the fact that she had someone to turn to. I can't even imagine how that man hurt to see a granddaughter he obviously loved so much hurt so bad.

transplantedx3 said...

I'm all sweaty and sticky now! Wonderful imagery. I can smell the hay. This is my first time stopping by, I look forward to reading more of your posts. Thanks for sharing such a sweet memory.

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